The Crosstown Showdown between the Andover Trojans and Andover Central Jaguars was like a war where neither side seemed able to gain a significant advantage over their opponent.
Eventually, though, the Trojans pulled through and won 14-13, continuing their winning streak for the season.
The game started two hours late due to inclement weather in the area. Kickoff was at 9 p.m.
Central senior Kier Stamp scored the first touchdown of the night late in the first quarter and the extra point was good. In the second quarter, Andover’s Cole Gumeringer scored Andover’s first touchdown, tying the score at seven.%
The score remained tied until the third quarter when Central’s Ryan Banwart caught a long pass and scored another touchdown. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 13-7.
Midway through the third quarter, Gumeringer went down due to a knee injury. The game was paused to allow medical personnel to help Gumeringer and get him off the field. Gumeringer remained out of play for the rest of the game.
Into the fourth quarter, the score remained where it was after Banwart’s touchdown. Central’s Kevin Olney received a minor injury early in the final quarter and left the field. Shortly after, Banwart also went down with a minor injury, but walked off the field with a slight limp.
Junior Cole VanEpps of Andover ran 27 yards late in the final quarter, bringing the Trojans close to scoring. Eventually, Van Epps scored the final touchdown of the game, the extra point was good and the score was 14-13.
After the final touchdown, the game intensified in the final three minutes. Neither team would let the other get far on possessions, making for a long last quarter.
However, the Trojans were able to keep their score up and remain undefeated for the season.
“Everything that could have went wrong went wrong,” Andover head coach Mike Lee said. “In the end, our guys hung in there and pulled it off.”
Lee attributes the success of the game to Van Epps, junior Coen Rasmussen, and seniors Mike Lopez and Brandon Fullington.
“Those guys came in and were huge tonight,” Lee said. “It’s just proof that everybody’s gotta be ready to play because you don’t know when your chance is gonna come. And it came tonight for them.”
As the Andover fans and team ran over to the bell rung when an Andover team scores a victory, Lee nodded at their enthusiasm.
“This is why it’s worth it,” he said.
Central head coach Tom Audley was disappointed in the outcome of the game, but said overall, his team did well.
Page 2 of 2 - “We got off to a great start,” Audley said. “I think, at times, we went very well on both sides of the ball. Late in the game, we had trouble getting on the field. I think their depth put us at a disadvantage at the end. They had more juice at the end than we did.”
Audley was happy with his team’s performance during the game.
“I thought our kids played really hard and played physical,” he said. “It might have been as well as we’ve played all year.
Audley added the two teams were evenly matched.
“Coach Lee and his squad did a great job,” Audley said. “I’m sure he’s proud of them and I’m very proud of our kids.”